Istanbul Newsline

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Ramadan in Istanbul

Tomorrow is Ramadan Bairam (feast) in Turkey and for people who believe in it. This month is perhaps the only time when Istanbul remembers its oriental past. During Ramadan the decoration of the city changes; on the most important squares of the city, one can see the iftar (breakfast) tents, through the sunset crowded by devouted people. By these tents there are small streets of oldish Ottoman houses of the sellers who serve many treats like Turkish coffee, halva, traditional Turkish sweets, nargile and the like. While walking on these stuck small streets one feels the oriental breeze that Istanbul carries behind its name. The lively athmosphere reflects the city's daily engagments. These short moments pass by people's desire to enjoy that evening and the sellers' cries to sell more. Children direct their parents to buy more sweets and adults enjoy themselves in this mixture of faith, tradition, modernity, economy and music. Especially the Syltanahmet (Blue Mosque) Square which is in the heart of old Istanbul, and once Hoppodrom of Byzantium and then parade area of the Ottomans, which includes the German Fountain (gift of Willhelm II to Ottoman Emperor) and the Egyptian obelisk, is now where ordinary people rally after breakfast and parade with their families and children. Then after completing their tour these pilgrims sit down to enjoy a tea on the banks between Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) and Saint Sofia where they feel like in the centre of the world. On one side they have the magnificient vision of Sultanahmet Mosque in blue light, which was built by Ottomans, and on the other the glamourous sight of Saint Sofia, built by Byzantium Emperors. Perhaps this is the heart of beauty of Istanbul. This city of heterogenous mixture prevails great love for people, symbolizing the variety of aspects of life and hosting many cultures on only one square."Napoleon Buonaparte was once saying if the world were only one state its capital would be Istanbul."(in The New York Times)

Next week, after the Ramadan, this circus will welcome only international tourists who like history and culture. All the oldish houses will be abandoned until the next year. Istanbul will take off its Ramadan Mask. People will go back to their daily agenda like unemployment, political and economical concern, education matters, traffic problems and increase in crime. To me, it is like Istanbul takes after a fake state of mood during Ramadan, but still it is fine to forget about your problems and enjoy yourself for a month or so. This can keep you well off your depression.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Hi From Lovely Istanbul

I will be writing news from Istanbul-Turkey...